Shaxi old town, it is going to be another Lijiang?

My first encounter with Shaxi was during my university days when I learned about the “Ancient Tea Horse Road.” Shaxi is renowned as the last living town on this ancient trade route. In June 2004, I had the opportunity to visit this small yet enchanting town. It left a lasting impression on me as it was serene and tranquil, with hardly any tourists around.

I vividly remember strolling along the cobblestone-paved streets, with a gentle stream flowing nearby. An elderly man sat beside a polished stone, next to his handcrafted water wheel. Occasionally, a few horses would pass through the Siden Market Square, carrying goods on their backs. Meanwhile, elderly women could be seen diligently working on their needlework under the old opera stage.

Although most of the buildings appeared old and weathered, they still retained their charm, despite seeming fragile and delicate.

Apart from the river, the only other inhabitants seemed to be a flock of ducks and geese. While the water wasn’t crystal clear, it didn’t deter the local boys from joyfully jumping into the river from the Yujin Bridge. Their laughter echoed through the air as they played in the water.

It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since my visit. While Shaxi may have undergone some changes due to modernization, it still exudes the same quiet and peaceful atmosphere. The Siden Street, the opera stage, the old bridge, the serene river, and even the bustling duck crowds—they all remain unchanged, much like they were two decades ago. I cherish the memories of Shaxi and sincerely hope that its timeless beauty will endure forever.